Warakurna is an Aboriginal community located in WA, approximately 330 kilometres west of Uluru. Over 200 Indigenous Australians call Warakurna home, also being the home of Western Australia’s only all Indigenous run police station. I’ve actually visited Warakurna, some 20 years ago, and couldn’t wait to see this short film and revisit a stunning part of the Australian Outback.
Documentary short ‘Our Law’ takes us into the Warakurna police station where we meet Sergeant Wendy Kelly and Sergeant Revis Ryder. Wendy has been a member of the police force for over 20 years, spending the last 2 years at Warakurna. In those two years Wendy has learnt a lot from the community, the most important to her being the local Ngaanyatjarra language. By learning the language and more about their culture, Wendy and her team can better communicate with the community members.
Sergeant Revis Ryder is the officer in charge of Warakurna police station, and after almost 2 and a half years is still struggling to get a grasp of the language. In his spare time Revis is also a coach for the local football team, a job that is difficult due to the language barrier, but creates great ties to the community and enables them to police effectively within the community.
Our Law tells a very touching story of these two police officers and their love for the role they hold in the community. They’re passionate about taking a non-traditional approach and forming genuine, deep bonds with the people of Warakurna. A prime example to me was Wendy holding, playing and having lots of fun with a baby while her father was doing some paperwork.
Surprisingly, the film was fantastically shot, making you feel like a fly on the wall, along with candid interview style scenes to help further the narrative. The makers also capture the breathtaking landscapes of the area, with desert planes, bush and rolling mountains, it took me back to such a wonderful place.
Considering the current social climate, Our Law is a great reminder that there is some good in this world, and the members of the Warakurna police force are doing their best to change the way policing is done in Western Australia. At the end of the film we see Sergeant Wendy Kelly leaving to Kalgoorlie to work on the Reconciliation Action Plan with the Western Australian Superintendent, which will hopefully pave the way for better policing in the state.
Our Law can be seen online as part of the Sydney Film Festival, running from June 10th to 21st.
Visit sff.org.au to find out more.
Our Law is proudly supported by Screenwest and NITV.